Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Chris Farrow

Education Consultant in Physical Education

Carl graduated with a degree in Geography and P.E in 1979. He now works as an Education Consultant, delivering both teacher and student courses on Physical Education.

Why did you choose to study at Loughborough University?

I decided to go to Loughborough based purely on the reputation of the University, which was way back then actually known as “Loughborough Colleges”. Some friends from the year above me at school had already gone to Loughborough and told me how good it was; their input and the excellent reputation for sport meant that I did not want to go anywhere else. It was only ever Loughborough for me, I wanted to teach PE and I’m glad I made the right choice!

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

Firstly, that sporting excellence gave me a firm background in coaching and teaching which helped me to get employed at some really good schools and colleges. In the world of PE teaching the reputation of Loughborough counts for a lot! I know that PE teaching now forms a much smaller part of the University profile, but the excellence and quality of Loughborough remains to inspire students in achieving their goals, no matter what field of work they are involved in.

Secondly the Loughborough experience, not just the teaching and coaching but the camaraderie and support of others who were also living on campus gave me the insight into how to work together as a team and how to lead others.  I think I learned that I could make a go of my career if I stuck at it and listened! There were also a number of opportunities outside of my course such as coaching awards and work experience that I took advantage of whilst at Loughborough.  These little extra’s helped to broaden my experience and learn things that I found invaluable in my career.

Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?

Simple, make the most of every opportunity that the University offers.  Not just your course but get involved in something extra. This could be at whatever level you want and includes clubs and societies from the university and beyond.  Your involvement will help you to meet new friends with similar interests who will be there for you when you need that little bit of support and your participation in clubs and societies will look good on your CV.

Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?

I was involved in the rugby club from the outset having been invited to pre-season training before the start of term. This meant that I met my team-mates and new friends straight away and it helped me to settle in. Most of the players who arrived for pre-season were huge, skilled and experienced and I thought I might have my work cut out just to get a game in the freshers B team. I did and I did! I played for the rugby club throughout my time at Loughborough and was lucky enough to play for the first team on a few occasions.

I also did a little bit of swimming on a recreational basis and even got some work as a lifeguard on campus. At that time the there was an outdoor pool that opened in summer and the few occasions I got to work there were an absolute pleasure, enjoying the sun at work, whilst being vigilant of course!

Can you tell us about your career journey?

I left Loughborough and worked locally at a School in Leicestershire teaching PE and Geography before moving up North to continue my career as a PE teacher and then Head of Department. I worked in a sixth form College for 26 years teaching A level PE and whilst there I got invited to give a lecture at a BAALPE conference. A member of the audience who had an educational training company asked to me to get involved in running courses for teachers. So I though why not?

Can you tell us more about your textbooks and teaching conferences?

Initially I worked on the teacher conferences part-time and then the company merged with a publishing company and asked me to get involved in writing text-books for A level PE. I wrote the first book in 2001 and have just finished the last one in line with new teaching specifications. I have now retired from teaching and work as an independent consultant running teacher courses, revision courses and in-school student courses for a couple of educational providers. I love the work and meeting new people and I never thought I would be doing this when I turned up for my first lecture at Loughborough back in the day!

Can you share some of your experiences of mentoring, and would you recommend that students find a mentor?

When I first started teaching, I used to frequently ask an old friend and my former teacher for advice. The response I got was really helpful, so when I became a Head of Department I set up a mentoring programme for the students. The response was encouraging and there was a structure for both mentor and mentee to meet as frequently as they wished and discuss topics as they saw fit, from exam topics to revision techniques.

Our results showed that students who had benefitted from mentoring achieved better results by half a grade than those who did not take up the offer. The mentors also found that their results improved, their personal skills were enhanced and their mentoring was a positive for employers and universities. So yes, take advantage of a mentor or become one, there are benefits for both and if you stick to your own agenda it will really help. You may also find a friend for the future!

What do you love the most about your job?

I like the variety of meeting different people and the fact that I can help them with advice and resources is very rewarding - I love it when a book is published!


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